A Tribute To Mothers

Title: A Tribute To Mothers

Bible Book: 1 Samuel 1

Author: J. Gerald Harris

Subject: Mother; Mother's Day



We have heard some beautiful tributes to mothers today. Thank God for Christian mothers.

John Quincy Adams, the sixth president of the United States, said, "All that I am my mother made me."

Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth president of the United States, said, "All that I am or hope to be I owe to my angel mother."

Dwight L. Moody, the famed evangelist, declared, "All that I have ever accomplished in life I owe to my mother." *

Napoleon who was elected the emperor of France on May 18, 1804, said, "Let France have good mothers and she will have good sons."

Benjamin West was born in Springfield, Pennsylvania, but by the time he was 28 he was the most popular painter in London. He startled the art world with his "Death of General Wolfe- He also painted "Death on the Pale Horse." But Benjamin West declared, "A kiss from my mother made me a painter.”

Henry Ward Beecher, one of America's most notable preachers of the past, once said, "The memory of my sainted mother is me brightest recollection of my early years."

James Garfield was elected the twentieth president of the United States in November 1880. His first act after being inaugurated president of the United States was to stoop and kiss his aged mother who sat near him.

They say that man is mighty,

He governs land and sea.

He wields a mighty scepter,

On lower powers than he.

But mightier power and stronger,

Man from his throne has hurled,

For the hand that rocks the cradle

Is the hand that rules the world.

I heard about this little girl who was about to say her part in an old fashioned children's day program. When she got in front of the crowd, the sight of hundreds of pairs of curious eyes focused upon her threw her into a panic. Every line that she had rehearsed so carefully faded from her mind and she stood there frozen in her tracks, unable to utter a single syllable.

In the front row her mother was almost as frantic as the little girl. She gestured, she moved her lips to form the words that her daughter was to speak, but it availed nothing. Finally in desperation the mother whispered the opening phrase, "I am the light of the world." Instantly the child's face relaxed. A smile appeared where there had been clouds before. And with supreme confidence the little girl began, "My mother is the light of the world."

Of course we know that Jesus is the light of the world. But through the years mothers have beautifully reflected the light of Jesus in their countenances and in their lives.

This morning we're going to consider Hannah, the mother of Samuel. To Hannah children were a blessing, a coveted reward from God. The deepest desire of Hannah's heart was to have the privilege of giving birth to a child. As we look at our text we shall see how Hannah in many ways represents a model mother.

I. Hannah's Perplexity

You say, "Why was Hannah perplexed?" First of all, let me say that she was perplexed because she was bothered. She was bothered by her adversary

Peninnah. Now, Peninnah and Hannah were married to the same man, Elkanah. Notice what it says in verse 2. It speaks of Elkanah and says, "And he had two wives; the name of the one was Hannah, and the lame of the other was Peninnah.

If you'll notice in verse 6, Peninnah is referred to as Hannah's adversary. It says, "And her adversary also provoked her sore, for to make her fret...." So Hannah was bothered by Peninnah.

You know, sometimes it's just hard for two women to get along anyway. I heard about these two old women who were riding on a train. They'd been battling for more than an hour over whether or not the train window at their seat should be opened.

One said, "I'll die of pneumonia if it is opened."

The other said, "I'll die of suffocation if it is not."

At last a very bored man in the seat across the aisle suggested to the conductor, "Why don't you open it until one gets pneumonia, and then close it until the other suffocates. Then we'll have some peace."

Well, Hannah and Peninnah simply did not get along. If you'll read the text you'll find that the blame for their difficulty is laid at the feet of Peninnah. She apparently was a critical, insensitive, jealous, unsympathetic person.

As we think about Hannah's perplexity, let me remind you that she was not only bothered, but she was barren. In the last part of verse 2 it says, "...and Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children." In verses 5 and 6 we are told that the Lord had shut up her womb. Hannah was barren. She was perplexed because she could not have children. Her husband mildly rebuked her by saying, “Am not I better to thee than ten sons.” In essence he was saying that his love would more than suffice for the love of a child. Hannah had a good husband and he loved her. He was devoted to her.

I heard about this man who was on an airplane and the man next to him noticed that he had his wedding ring on the index finger of his right hand, rather the ring finger of his left hand. He said, “Hey, is that your wedding ring?”

The man said, “Yes.”

The other man said, “Why are you wearing it on the wrong finger?”

The man said, “I married the wrong woman.”

Well, Elkanah had married Hannah and he loved her even though she had not been able to bear him children. The fact that she was barren did not

diminish his love for her.

However, her infertility caused her great perplexity. In fact, notice what it says in verse 10 of I Samuel 1. "And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the Lord, and wept sore."

Now, having considered Hannah's perplexity, let us consider

II. Hannah's Prayer

Notice Hannah's prayer in verse 11. "And she vowed a vow, and said, 0 Lord of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the Lord all the days of his life, and there shall no rasor come upon his head."

Now, first of all, I want you to notice that Hannah's prayer was fervent. Sometimes today our prayers are not fervent, they are frivolous. But there must be an earnestness about our praying. Martin Luther said, "Prayer is the sweat of the soul." Prayer is the gun we shoot with, fervency is the fire that discharges it and faith is the bullet that pierces the throne of grace.

Hannah prayed with fervency. In fact, three times in this eleventh verse she called herself "God's handmaid." She wasn't trying to coerce God into giving her a baby. She was simply saying, "I have been your servant for years and I plan to be forever your servant regardless of your answer to my prayer."

Now, Eli was the high priest, and Eli saw this distraught woman come to the temple to pray. He watched her mouth and he saw her lips move, but he could not hear any sound. He concluded that she was drunk. But notice her response in verse 15. She said, ""No, my lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit; I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but, have poured out my soul before the Lord.”

Now, it's interesting to me that when Hannah fervently prayed, Eli thought she was drunk. When the disciples of the Lord were filled with the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, the people in Jerusalem thought they were drunk.

I think Hannah was praying fervently and I think she was praying in the spirit. I just don't know that we see much praying in the spirit today. I just don't think we see much praying like Hannah's prayer in our day. Would people think you were drunk by the way you pray?

Our prayers sometimes are very dignified. And I think perhaps a lot of prayer meetings were killed in many churches by the same people praying the same monotonous prayers week after week. There is the story of the old fellow who prayed every Wednesday night at his prayer meeting, "0, Lord, for the wings of a dove that I might fly away and be at rest."

Every prayer meeting night it was that same prayer. |

A younger member of the group could no longer bear it, and one night he muttered under his breath just as the fellow had finished that same prayer for the one hundredth time, "Lord, stick another feather in him and let him fly." But Hannah's prayer was a fervent prayer.

But, secondly, I want you to notice that Hannah's prayer was a focused prayer. She prayed specifically for a man child. She wanted a little boy. She prayed specifically for that.

You know, too many of our prayers are just generic, general, broad sweeping prayers.

I heard about this little boy who had been asked to pray at mealtime. And he prayed with one eye open and one eye shut. As he looked around the table he said “Dear Lord, thank you for the fried chicken. And thank you for the green beans. And thank you for the mashed potatoes. And thank you for the biscuits. And thank you for the iced tea. And he paused, opened both eyes, turned to his mother and said, “Momma, are we having dessert?”

His mother said, “Yes, we’re having apple pie.”

And the little boy said, “Lord, we really do thank you for the apple pie. Amen.”

Now you many think that kind of prayer is juvenile or foolish. But it may be that that kind of prayer is more welcome in heaven than some of our prayers. At least the little boy was praying about specific things. And too many of our prayers are too general, too broad.

One of the things I like about our intercessory prayer ministry is that if you go to the prayer room there are specific people with specific needs and specific objects of prayer. When God answers, you know that those specific needs have been met through divine intervention.

So Hannah's prayer was fervent, it was focused. And then let me say that it was fruitful. Look in verse 18 of I Samuel 1. "And she said. Let thine handmaid find grace in thy sight. So the woman went her way, and did eat, and her countenance was no more sad." Hannah arose from prayer a new woman. Her baby wasn't within her yet, but she was thrilled as though she held Samuel in her arms. Nothing but prayer can heal the bitterness of a broken heart. Prayer is its own greatest blessing. And prayer is indispensable to responsible parenthood. Perhaps one major reason there are fewer servants of God like Samuel today is because there is a lack of maternal prayer for children. Of course, we know that eventually Hannah's prayer was answered in that she gave birth to Samuel.

Now having considered Hannah's perplexity and Hannah's prayer, let us consider

III. Hannah’s Principle

Hannah was a woman of principle. In her prayers Hannah grew to realize that the best she could do for her son was to raise him to be devoted to God. In verse 11 she indicated her intention to raise her son according to the ancient vow of the Nazarites. This vow signified that the subject would be separated unto the Lord. We are so grateful for mothers who bring up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

A young mother set her foot on the path of life.

"Is the way long," she asked.

And her guide said, "Yes, and the way is hard and you will be old before you reach the end of it. But the end will be better than the beginning."

But the young mother was happy and she would not believe that anything could be better than these years. So she played with her children and gathered flowers for them along the way, and bathed with them in the clear streams. And the sun shone on them and life was good. And the young mother cried, "Nothing will ever be lovelier than this."

The night came and storm, and the path was dark and the children shook with fear and cold. And the mother drew them close and covered them with her mantle. And the children said, "0, mother, we're not afraid, for you are near and no harm can come."

And the mother said, "This is better than the brightness of day, for I have taught my children courage."

And the morning came and there was a hill ahead and the children climbed and grew weary. And the mother was weary. But at all times she said to the children, "A little patience and we are there."

So the children climbed. And when they reached the top, they said, "We could not have done it without you, mother."

And my mother, when she laid down at night, looked at the stars and said, "This is a better day than the last, for my children have learned fortitude in the face of hardness. Yesterday I gave them courage. Today I have given them strength."

And the next day came strange clouds which darkened the earth — clouds of war and hate and evil. And the children groped and stumbled and the mother said, "Look up. Lift your eyes to the light." And the children looked and saw above the clouds an everlasting glory, and it guided them and brought them beyond the darkness. And that night the mother said, "This is the best day of all for I have shown my children the Lord."

And the days went on, and the weeks and the months and the years. And the mother grew old. And she was little and bent, but her children were tall and strong and walked with courage. And when the way was hard, they helped their mother. And when the way was rough, they lifted her, for she was as light as a feather. And at last they came to a hill. And beyond the hill they could see a shining road and a golden gate flung wide.

And the mother said, "I have reached the end of my journey, and now I know that the end is better than the beginning, for my children can walk alone, and their children after them."

And the children said, "You will always walk with us, mother, even when you have gone through the gates."

And they stood and watched her as she went on alone. And the gates closed after her. And they said, "We cannot see her, but she is with us still. A mother like ours is more than a memory. She is a living presence."

Today we have seen mothers and fathers dedicate their children to the Lord. We have read about Hannah who gave her son to the Lord. It may have been the desire of your mother to give you to the Lord. But the truth of the matter is that that is something you must do for yourself. It is a decision that you must make. Today would you give yourself to the Lord? Will you accept Christ as your personal Savior? Amen.

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